Walking for health is most certainly the way to go if you don’t like going to the gym. There are so many health benefits of walking that I want to share with you because I believe you will be amazed at them! After all walking is easy to do, walking is free and it is one of the most straight-forward ways to lose weight, get fit and improve your health.
Walking I believe has been so overlooked as a form of exercise. What some don’t understand that if you walk briskly it can help you get fit, it can build your fitness level and it burns calories all the while making you healthy. It should not be overlooked as walking for health is – in my eyes – wonderful!
Free Walking for Weight Loss Plan
Another positive about walking for health is that you don’t have to be doing it for hours on end – even a brisk 10 minutes can get your heart pumping and it all counts towards your exercise count.
The reason why I love walking so much is because all I have to do is slip on a pair of comfortable trainers and away I go – nothing more fancy than that!
There are a number of reasons why walking for health is so accessible to everyone:
First of all walking is free, you just go out and do it, there is no expensive gym memberships. Walking for health can be done in your every day clothes. Although I would recommend if you are going for a brisk walk to consider sweat wicking fabric and if you don’t have a shower after walking at lunch time read my blog post on how to freshen up after exercise with no shower!
Another positive of walking is that it is gentle on your bones. Running can really damage your ligaments and you get injured whereas walking you can do at a more gentle pace and then build it up. Walking for health you can do with your friends or meet new people in walking groups.
Walking for health is also great because it can be the gateway you need to starting exercise if you haven’t been doing any in a while.
While walking for health gives you benefits it also has positive benefits foro your local community especially if you leave the car at home. You are reducing the pollution levels in your local neighborhood just by leaving the car at home.
Aside from boosting your health, walking has positive benefits for the whole community too. By leaving the car at home you’re helping to reduce pollution, and you won’t be stuck in traffic either!
Walking for health benefit 1: Mental well-being.
Walking gives you that feel good factor. It is both the exercise and being out in the fresh air. It improves your self-esteem, your mood and it even helps you sleep better. Did you know that people who are active have a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed? If you do suffer from depression walking also helps you over that.
Walking for health benefit 2: Helps you fight dementia
I’m going to start again with a scientific study. I just want to show you that it’s not me saying this but there is scientific proof to why you should walk.
A study from Canada have discovered a link between our brain function and low-level aerobic exercise.It was a smaller study with 38 adults who suffered from a cause of dementia called vascular cognitive impairment. this group of adults were monitored for six months and those who took brisk walks on a regular basis displayed improved levels of brain function.
They were walking on average 3 hours per week.The researchers also suggested that anyone taking regular walks could help prevent developing vascular cognitive impairment in the first place.How that is worth walking an hour three times per week! Don’t you think?
Walking for Health Benefit 3: Can cut your risk of cancer
More scientific evidence to start. This time from America, more specifically the American Society for Clinical Oncology. They have suggested that walking is a great weapon to battle cancer with.
The first study they conducted was looking at women who walked for 180 minutes per week after they had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They deduced that around the women who walked were half as likely to die from the disease as those who didn’t do any walking.
The same study was conducted with people who had bowel cancer and they concluded the same.The researchers suggested that around 25 minutes of walking per day would deliver the same results that were outlined in the study. Again I challenge you to walk more than that each day.
Walking for Health Benefit 4: Helps keep your heart strong
Walking briskly gets the blood pumping around your body. With that the heart gets stronger. I want to share with you another study, again to prove how walking an hour per day keeps your heart strong.
A study which was first conducted way back in 1970 and then again in 2007 found that walking on a regular basis reduced the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack, angina, stroke, heart failure by up to 31 per cent.
Not only that but walking an hour a day can also keep your blood pressure at acceptable levels and this also reduces any risk you may have of getting a stroke by up to 27 per cent.
Worth walking an hour a day?
Walking health benefit 5: Helps your skin – honestly!
Vitamin D is great for our skin and it’s great for our mood. Getting outside ensures that we get the most Vitamin D we can which can help keep our bones, our teeth and even our skin healthy. Of course not too much or you will end up with sun burn!
Walking for health benefits 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11
Walking for health benefits also include helping reduce heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Walking can also help maintain your weight or help you lose weight, it can also improve your cholesterol levels, reduce high blood pressure, build healthy muscles and bones which is so important for women, improve balance and can help older people reduce the risk of falls.
Other reasons to walk
Walking is also a low impact exercise and is very accessible for all types of people from young to old to those who want to lose a little weight or those who want to lose a lot. It’s also good for those who haven’t exercised in some time – just like me! Walking can also be good for your mental health as you are outdoors and getting the space you may need from whatever is happening in your life. Below I have listed a quick 18 things that walking can do for you:
- It burns calories
- It tones your body
- It can help you shed weight or maintain your weight
- It helps to boost your metabolism
- It helps to reduce body fat levels
- It can boost your energy levels and make you feel better
- It can strengthen your muscles especially your legs
- It helps to strengthen your immune system and keep colds at bay
- It improves your blood flow and circulation
- It can help to lower your blood pressure
- Scientific studies have showed it can reduce diabetes
- It helps with depression and anxiety as well as promoting positive mental health
- It can help you to manage stress you may have in your life
- It can help you to have a better night’s sleep
- It can help you connect with your partner/children if they come along with you and leave their smart phones at home!
- You can fit it in to your daily routine
- It’s great for the environment
- It’s free – all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes!
Walking for health: getting started
If you are just starting out then I recommend you download my plan for free from here. This plan is a great start for those just starting on their walking journey. I did it to build the distance and time gradually and aimed for as many days as I could based on just short walks. I want to share with you some of the things I did when starting on my walking for weight loss journey, I hope they help you.
- Before your walk starts do some stretches of your ankles, legs and arms. I had shin splints when I first started and they were sore! It’s also helpful to do some stretching at the end too. If you really over do it have a bath with bath salts as this will ease any muscle tension.
- Walking with the correct posture will help ensure you don’t get a sore back. I’ve a blog post dedicated to how walking can help back pain if you want a read.
- Set a pace which is correct for you – if you are doing a moderate or brisk pace you should be slightly out of breath but still be able to hold a conversation. This can help you build your fitness base for longer walks.
- Vary your distance and terrain. Again if you download the training plan for beginners it will give you an idea of distance and time.
- Incorporate walking as much as possible into your daily routine and plan longer walks at the weekend.